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Boy did I open up a can of worms

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by South Florida Lawns, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Messages: 4,784

    I'll keep this short and to the point. We did an install this year at a commercial, lady owns a hair and nail business also owns the other buildings on the property that we maintain. Well turns out I got a better deal on materials so we made a great profit. I was happy and owners were too.

    I get a call from the owner saying she wanted to switch out a few plants and I was like sure no problem, (she wanted diff. palms for front) we switched them out easy she was happy. Then the next week she calls and says she bought some plants could we plant them, rolling my eyes I said sure. There were about 15 annuals sitting throughout, took all of 5 min to plant. Now tonight she calls late, i let the anwsering machine take it and she has a friend 45min south of us thats moving and wants us to dig out and transplant 5 small queen palms.

    I think at this point I am gonna say I gotta charge you. otherwise every week she will have some new project. Up until this point they have all been small adjustments that take no longer than 10 min max but my time is money and i think this is where i draw the line.
  2. Century Landscape

    Century Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87


    I'd definitely start charging her for any more work you do. Probably would have charged her for a lot of what you already did for free, but I know what it's like trying to take care of a good customer.

    If she was happy with the initial work and satisfied with the value of the service you performed, there's no need to feel guilty just because you made out bettter than you expected. I'm sure sometimes you get the shaft when you didn't expect it too! Anyhow, you definitely oughtta charge her for anything more work, and especially if it's for her friend.

    Just my opinion
  3. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    Any time they talk you should charge. The moment you start giving your service or knowledge away you are saying that it is not worth much. I Know we all want to keep customers happy but I get tired of getting taken. The longer in the biz the more jaded about freebies you will get.
  4. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    I could be wrong but it does not sound like a can of worms, sounds more like the client has more money to spend. Do not assume that they are trying to get more work out of the money they paid you.

    You earned that payment, if you made more than you expected, good for you, put it in your savings account and one day you will need it, hopefully not till you retire.

    If they do expect you to travel 45 minutes and move palms for free, you should have no problem telling them no.
  5. JeffW0011

    JeffW0011 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Not sure I understand the can of worms here based on the info you have provided....Did you have some agreement with this lady that you didn't share in your post? I understand trying to keep a good customer happy but have zero idea why driving 45 minutes one way to do some "free" work for her "friend" would even be a consideration. Are you even sure she is hinting it should somehow be related to the work you do for her at her commercial site? If she is a business owner she more than anyone will understand that you have to get paid for your time. I would tell her you would be glad to help her friend out (if you indeed have time) but you will have to charge 1.5 hours of labor for the drive time x how ever many guys are on the job. Maybe you knock a few bucks off your standard labor rate for the drive time. And don't forget to include a fuel charge on top of that to cov er your cost of fuel if this job has you traveling outside of your normal service area. That's what I would do anyway...based on the info you have provided...
  6. jkingrph

    jkingrph LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    I'm not in this kind of business, more of one where I would be the one paying for your service.

    Here's my opinion! Let her know you must charge for your time, round trip, and mileage on your vehicle. The feds allow I think $0.50/mile mileage for "cost", if I were running my pickup for anyone other than myself I would charge considerably more than that per mile.

    You have to pay operating cost and wear and tear on your vehicle, plus the time on the road is time you could otherwise be working somewhere else pulling in your fees.
  7. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    I want to know how that turns out when you talk to her..and I would charge as well..time is money.
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    tell her you gonna charge...trust me you'll get a lot less phone calls. sounds like they are asian...no offense but they are just as cheap as the other one I can't stand. sorry for the politcal incorrectness.
  9. Lefet

    Lefet LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,887

    Are not worms good for the soil? Meaning this doesn't sound like a bad thing. I'm in business, so for someone to expect a freebie, FOR THEIR FRIEND is ridiculous. It very well may be the original person was so pleased with your work that "word of mouth" is working! Take a ride, give the new one an estimate and see what happens. I wouldn't even bother to "call her and tell her I have to charge her". She's in business, she knows the drill!! Think of you taking your wife (or g/f) to get her nails done, then calling her and saying, "Oh, my XXX sister's nails need it too". Think she's not going to charge you???

    Stop assuming, go give the estimate. If she takes it great, money in your pocket.
    If not, no worries, you've made your point.

    You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for EVERYTHING.
  10. huntemup

    huntemup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    If there are any worms here its that lady!You went above and beyond what you had to do. We all get stuck with people wanting more.You know< hey Sonny haul my trash can to the curb,what kind of plant is this? I even had a lady bring me out a jar of pickles to open! The list goes on,we all do a little extra, but she has pushed too far! charge her!

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